WestGate Church Enhances Multi-Campus Live Video Delivery with Z HD5500 HDTV Cameras from Hitachi Kokusai

As San Jose, California-area WestGate Church expanded beyond its original Saratoga campus to multiple satellite locations, live video became a vital enabler of its ongoing growth. Looking to improve picture quality and production flexibility for its multi-site broadcasts, the church purchased two Z-HD5500 HDTV studio and field production cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) and has been delighted with the results.

“When I joined the church, we had maxed out our capacity in Saratoga, and had dreams of going multi-site,” said Kevan Long, production director at WestGate Church. “Adding satellite campuses was crucial in extending our reach into other pockets of the Silicon Valley region, and linking them with video is an essential part of our worship experience.”

Adding new locations over the past three years, WestGate Church now spans four campuses – Saratoga, South Hills, Sunnyvale, and the Spanish-language Casa de Fe – with more than 3000 total congregants attending services each week. Live broadcasts of services with lead pastor Steve Clifford originate from the Saratoga site’s 800-seat worship center and are streamed with a five-minute time delay to South Hills and Casa de Fe, while evening attendees at the Sunnyvale location watch a recording captured earlier the same day.

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As their dependency on video increased, the church recognized the need to upgrade their cameras. “We needed better image capture quality as we expanded to multiple sites,” explained Long. “Our existing robotic PTZ cameras created a fairly decent 720p image, but we knew our video could be much better with true broadcast-grade cameras. Following our communicators across the stage with robotic cameras also didn’t look very good, so we had to ask them to limit their actions so they didn’t step out of the frame.”

Low-light handling was also among the key criteria as the church evaluated new cameras.

“We don’t like to flood our stage with lights, preferring to run it a bit on the darker side to give it a warmer feel,” said Long. “Our previous cameras weren’t great in low-light situations, so we needed ones with better sensors and sensitivity.”

Worship-oriented systems integrator E2i Design recommended the Z-HD5500 to the WestGate Church team. As the Z-HD5500 was brand new at the time, Long spoke to other churches that were using earlier Hitachi camera models, and was impressed by what he heard. These endorsements combined with the cameras’ technical benefits to make the Z-HD5500s ideal for WestGate’s needs.

“Hitachi Kokusai as a company has a great reputation, and the video from their cameras looks great,” said Long. “The Z-HD5500’s full frame rate 1080p capability was a factor in our decision, and its 62dB signal-to-noise ratio is pretty amazing. Its new sensor’s ability to handle the challenges of LED lighting at different refresh rates was also very appealing, as our stage and house lighting are almost entirely LED, and we plan to add LED video walls in the future.”

The Z-HD5500s have delivered all of the benefits the church was looking for, improving the visual quality of their productions while enabling their on-stage communicators to move about freely.

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“The image quality of the Hitachi cameras is just stellar, and we could clearly see as soon as we put them in that their depth of field and low-light performance were so much better than what we had previously,” praised Long. “The ability to follow our communicators on stage has also enabled us to create a more dynamic video experience, making us much more engaging to watch than our oldlocked-down shots.”

While the church’s video crew was new to broadcast-class cameras, they found the Hitachi cameras easy to learn.

“We held a 30-minute group training session on the basic controls, then came early to practice during rehearsals for the first month,” recalled Long. “The transition was pretty seamless.”

Long is completely satisfied with the Z-HD5500s, and would love to add two more to WestGate Church’s productions if budget and space in the sanctuary permit.

“We couldn’t be happier with the decision we made to go with the Hitachi cameras,” he summarized. “They are vital in our inter-campus content delivery and have made us better as a production team, which in turn hasmade us better as a ministry in reaching our community.”

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PlayBox Neo Reports Successful Broadcast Asia 2019 Reflecting Buoyant APAC Market

Running parallel with ConnectTech Asia, the combined events attracted representatives from the broadcast and telco markets within the core APAC region and wider.

“Broadcast Asia is essentially an action replay of the April NAB Show in Las Vegas, which is good in reducing unnecessary travel,” says PlayBox Neo CEO Pavlin Rahnev. “The APAC region itself is continuing to develop strongly in terms of investment in both broadcast and telco infrastructures. We exhibited the latest versions of our established Channel-in-a-Box modular channel branding and playout product range and debuted the latest version of our software-as-a-service based offering: Cloud2TV. These two product ranges give PlayBox Neo customers the freedom to invest in their own fully independent on-site systems, which many channel managers still like to do, or operate at any desired level on their own choice of hardware platform in whatever location they prefer.”

 

“We demonstrated our two product ranges as independent solutions and as a versatile hybrid which can be scaled easily to allow fast startup of long-term program channels as well as event-specific red-button channels,” adds PlayBox Neo APAC General Manager Desmon Goh. “The hybrid approach is also ideal for storing production assets, allowing these to be remotely accessed quickly and easily by authorized staff via a secure IP connection. We also promoted the effectiveness of using Cloud2TV as the core of a highly efficient offsite recovery facility.”

PlayBox Neo building on nearly 20 years of successful innovation, pioneered the development of high-efficiency server-based and cloud-based playout to support every scale and type of one-to-many communication. PlayBox Neo AirBox and Cloud2TV today power over 18,500 TV and branding channels in more than 120 countries. Users include national and international broadcasters, start-up TV channels, webcasters, interactive TV and music channels, film channels, remote TV channels, corporate information channels and disaster recovery channels.

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V-Nova joins ATSC, driving industry collaboration and innovation to enable the best media experiences

ATSC is currently focused on the commercial rollout of its 3.0 specification for digital terrestrial broadcasting. It represents the standardisation of a decade of technology advancement for how TV services are delivered, including addressing the convergence of broadcast and OTT features and benefits.

V-Nova is widely respected across the industry for its unique video distribution technology PERSEUS Plus, a compression approach that enhances the visual quality and computational performance of any existing codec such as AVC/h.264, HEVC, VP9 and in the future AV1. A broad range of existing players and set-top-boxes can be software-updated to support the low-complexity PERSEUS Plus enhancement for the best possible video quality and power consumption on devices.

Guido Meardi, CEO and co-founder at V-Nova, said, “Joining the ATSC further strengthens one of our primary missions, which is to work extremely closely with all leading standard bodies and industry peers to drive the innovation and adoption of next-generation video and imaging compression technologies. In combination with our active work with MPEG and SMPTE, we’re excited to collaborate intensely with the ATSC group to advance terrestrial digital television broadcasting and media services.”

ATSC 3.0 enables technical advances for the broadcast industry and their customers. As a codec company that delivers improvements across the media ecosystem, V-Nova’s drive to develop the best compression techniques to improve services aligns perfectly with the ATSC’s multiple aims.

“ATSC 3.0 is specifically designed to be future-proof and incorporate continuous technological evolutions.” continued Meardi. “We intend to contribute greatly towards this future innovation and help the group to deliver ever-improving experiences for viewers.”

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Mediaproxy brings latest features for LogServer compliance monitor-analyser to Media+Entertainment Tech Expo 2019

Mediaproxy will show the latest updates to its LogServer compliance, monitoring and analysis package at SMPTE Australia’s Media+Entertainment Tech Expo on booth F27 in the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) from 17 to 20 July 2019.

While recognized internationally as a company of cutting-edge technology for compliance applications in file-based broadcast workflows, Mediaproxy maintains a strong presence in its domestic market of Australia. Like their counterparts in other parts of the world, Australian broadcasters, service providers and platform operators are facing the realities of OTT services, which have made broadcast operations more complicated, particularly in terms of checking and analyzing delivery streams.

A major challenge is that playout is no longer the final point for quality control (QC). Modern distribution ecosystems call for a greater degree of management because of more logging and compliance checks needed to cope with CDN edge points, targeted ad-insertion, multi-language support and event-based channels at different places along the chain.

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During this year’s MET Mediaproxy will demonstrate the concept of exception-based monitoring, which uses IP penalty boxes that allow broadcasters and MSOs (multiple system operators) working at scale to deal with QC and compliance more efficiently.

As well as OTT, broadcasters now have to address social media as an increasingly important platform for video distribution. More broadcasters are now exploiting Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to extend their reach. These outlets have different, specific requirements for how material is prepared and Mediaproxy has incorporated dedicated tools for this into LogServer. These include features for cropping the image and altering the aspect ratio to make it better suited for mobile devices, in addition to the capability for inserting ad bumpers.

Among other new features for LogServer that address the needs of network operators running multiple stations and playout streams is a live source comparison tool. This identifies mismatched content in real-time and is able to compare one or more live sources using video material. An alert is sent to operators immediately if irregularities are detected.

LogServer also supports SMPTE ST 2110 media over IP formats and Newtek’s NDI (Network Device Interface) technology. By working with both of these sources, the software’s compliance recording and monitoring options are enhanced, ensuring complete adherence to standards at all points along the IP chain.

Commenting on Mediaproxy’s presence at MET and the latest version of LogServer, chief executive Erik Otto says, “We always look forward to our visit to Sydney for MET. It gives us a perfect showcase to demonstrate how LogServer can help with the major operational challenges faced by broadcasters today. Controlling a large number of OTT streams can be daunting, which is why having a unified system for monitoring compliance and identifying issues across all traditional and OTT playouts is critical. To ensure that the right content is at the right place at the right time, Mediaproxy LogServer enables operators to log and monitor outgoing ABR streams as well as Transport Stream and OTT stream metadata, including SCTE triggers, closed captions and audio information, all from one place. It is the key to surviving the multiformat game of the future and we are delighted to demonstrate this at MET 2019.”

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Call for Presentations Now Open for IP Showcase at IBC2019

The call for presentations is now open for the IP Showcase, an education and demonstration pavilion at IBC2019 that will highlight the benefits of, and momentum behind, a common set of IP standards for real-time professional media applications. The IP Showcase is sponsored by a consortium of industry partners including the Audio Engineering Society (AES), the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Society of Motion Picture and Technology Engineers® (SMPTE®), and the Video Services Forum (VSF).

The submission deadline for speaking proposals is July 12. More details and the submission form are available at http://www.ipshowcase.org/call-for-presentations-ibc2019/.

“The IP Showcase Theatre provides an exceptional opportunity for presenters to offer unique viewpoints on IP video and audio for production and playout. This year’s edition will have a particular emphasis on JT-NM TR-1001-1 automation and covers the full range of standards including SMPTE ST 2110, AES67, and AMWA NMOS,” said Brad Gilmer, IP Showcase executive director. “As in past years, we are expecting hundreds of IBC show attendees to benefit from the wide range of expertise on offer.

 

“As broadcasters increasingly adopt and expand their commitment to IP implementations, the industry has come to rely on IP Showcase presentations as a valuable ongoing industry reference for media professionals worldwide,” Gilmer added.

The call for presentations is open to end users, industry associations, solution providers, and technology developers that can share their knowledge and perspectives on how developments in IP workflows are impacting the broadcast industry today and in the future. Presentations may take the form of tutorials (basic and advanced), case studies, panel discussions, market and business case analyses, point-of-view or advocacy, and standards progress updates. This year, the IP Showcase Theatre will also feature an expanded stage area, which provides the opportunity for presenting select hands-on technology demos.

Speaking times are limited during the five-day exhibition, and organizations are encouraged to act quickly and submit proposals early. Product marketing presentations are discouraged, as the theatre is an opportunity to discuss advances in working with media using open, IP-based technologies.

The IP Showcase returns again this year to Room E106/E107 at the RAI Amsterdam during IBC2019, Sept. 13-17.

 

Eutelsat confirms the successful launch of EUTELSAT 7C

Eutelsat Communications confirms the successful launch of EUTELSAT 7C. The satellite was lifted into space from Kourou, French Guiana by an Ariane 5 rocket at 23h43 CET (21h43 UTC).

Manufactured by Maxar Technologies, EUTELSAT 7C is a 3.4 tonne high-power broadcast satellite which will serve markets across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Turkey, through 49 36-Mhz equivalent Ku-band transponders. The satellite will be co-located with EUTELSAT 7B at 7° East, increasing capacity for this dynamic neighbourhood by 19 transponders. It is due to enter into commercial service at the end of this year.

Currently co-located with EUTELSAT 7B, EUTELSAT 7A will be transferred to another orbital location as part of Eutelsat’s fleet optimisation strategy.

Rodolphe Belmer, Chief Executive Officer of Eutelsat, said: “EUTELSAT 7C will allow us to further develop our 7° East video neighbourhood, with two co-located high-power satellites providing the best possible support to customers in this vibrant market. We are delighted to have benefitted from Maxar’s state-of-the-art technology and to celebrate yet another successful launch with Arianespace.”

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PCTI Upgrades Studio with JVC CONNECTED CAM Cameras

Paired with Canon lenses, the cameras are used to produce a variety of student projects including Tech Today, an ongoing YouTube series that highlights PCTI students, faculty, alumni, and events.

The new cameras replaced three JVC cameras that had been used in the studio for at least eight years. All three GY-HC900s are integrated with the JVC FS-900 camera module, providing PCTI with a fiber-based studio solution. Mounted on Vinten pedestals, each camera is equipped with an LCD monitor as well as zoom and focus controls.

According to Jody Lazarski, one of two instructors for the video production program, the studio is being upgraded based on recommendations from PCTI’s advisory council, which is made up of industry professionals. This year’s upgrades included the JVC cameras and a new studio set, while tape-based recording decks were replaced with Blackmagic Design HyperDeck recorders in 2018. “Over the course of two years, we’ve gradually allocated funds to keep us current in the 21st century,” said Lazarski.

PCTI has approximately 3,700 students across numerous disciplines, including the students enrolled in the video production program through the School of Communication Arts. Mark Cacace, supervisor of instruction for PCTI, said equipment upgrades including the new JVC cameras are essential for creating a professional environment.

“We’re tasked with creating the most realistic work experience for students,” he explained. “Our goal is to get them ready for the next step. We put the equipment to good use, which benefits the entire school community.”

While the cameras are still being used exclusively in the studio, Lazarski is interested in using the GY-HC900’s live streaming capabilities in the future. “I’m very happy with them,” she added. “It was a very simple decision to stick with JVC.”

Both the GY-HC900 and GY-HC900ST CONNECTED CAM models feature three 2/3-inch CMOS sensors to produce full HD images, plus an industry B4 lens mount and four-position optical filter. For ENG and other live applications, the GY-HC900 has built-in Wi-Fi, dual external antennas, streaming/FTP performance up to 20Mbps, and SMPTE 2022 forward error correction and Zixi error correction with ARQ for reliable transmission. Other features include dual SDXC card slots, three XLR inputs, 50 Mbps 4:2:2 10-bit recording, MPEG-2 recording up to 35 Mbps, and slow motion and HDR recording modes.

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